Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce

Series: Darkangel Trilogy
Author: Meredith Ann Pierce
Page Count: 281
Published: April 15th, 1998
Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company Magic Carpet Books
  4 Stars ★★★★

Aeriel and her mistress, Eoduin, are out one day, away from their village, when the Darkangel kidnaps Eoduin to be his bride. Aeriel hopes to avenge her mistress by killing the vampyre, but she is kidnapped as well, to be his servant.

The Darkangel's castle is dark and depressing, guarded by menacing, chained gargoyles. Aeriel is tasked with tending to the vampyres's thirteen wives, who have now become hideous, soulless wraiths.

The wraiths urge her to kill the vampyre before he chooses a fourteenth and final bride and the magical duarough, living in the caves beneath the castle, helps her devise a plan to lead to his undoing. But will Aeriel have the ruthlessness to truly end the Darkangel's existence? Or will her compassion motivate her to find another way to defeat his evil side?

The first book in this trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce was captivating, magical, and emotional. Despite some wordy descriptions and occasionally confusing dialogue, I was sucked into the story from the first chapter.

I consider this novel to be fantasy, horror, and adventure, a combination of sub-genres I have never come across in the general young adult genre before. It included everything from winged vampires to living water to water witches to talking animals, and it took place in what appeared to be another planet or world. The horror aspect was fulfilled through the wraiths' appearances and over-all condition, along with the vampyre's gothic castle, his unpredictable temper and grisly past times, and the dark tales Aeriel tells to the inhabitants of the castle. As for the adventure, Aeriel's quest to obtain the materials necessary to kill the vampyre is an adventure both excitingly dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful.

I felt like this book was kind of like a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. We have the woman kidnapped and brought to a beast's castle, the cast of unique and/or transformed inhabitants, and the incident of the captive running away and later returning, her compassion for her captor overcoming her fear. For this reason, I recommend this book to fans of fairy-tale retellings.

I also recommend this book to fans of fantasy, horror, and adventure stories, and to adults and teens alike looking for a romance-free novel with paranormal themes.  

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